Managing Different Personalities in the Workplace

  • Person icon Mercia Group
  • Calendar icon 17 May 2021 15:15

Understanding and managing different personalities in the workplace is an essential skill for any manager to have. By doing so, you can be better equipped to build strong relationships, show empathy, and motivate and inspire your team.  With the strongest teams often being diverse and made up of individuals with different strengths, weaknesses, and perspectives, a “one size fits all” approach isn’t effective in managing your team.

Our latest blog introduces you to the Social Styles framework, covering how to recognise the different styles and manage the differing personalities of your colleagues and clients.

What are the different social styles?

The Merrill-Reid Social Styles Framework categorises personalities into 4 types: Driver, Expressive, Amiable and Analytical. The styles are defined by two behaviours:

  • Assertiveness – the degree in which a person’s behaviour could be describe as forceful
  • Responsiveness – the degree in which a person is seen as emotionally controlled and whether they display or control their feelings

How can you identify different styles?

To identify the social styles of your team members, a helpful starting point is to ask yourself some questions on their behaviour and preferences. For example, are they a quick or slow decision maker? Are they animated in conversation or reserved? Do they like understanding the detail of tasks given to them?

Although not exhaustive - and it is important to know that individuals will show traits of all social styles – the different styles can be identified by some of the characteristics below.


Drivers are objective focused and very motivated. The language they use is often direct as they look for immediate results and they can be highly assertive. They prefer to communicate quickly and concisely and are good at making quick decisions.


Expressive people are often natural salespeople as they are great at communicating and connecting with others. They will often be described as warm and enthusiastic people, although they can be extremely competitive.


Amiable people are often kind-hearted and like to avoid conflict. They find it easy to adapt and blend in with different situations and environments. They may have difficulty making firm decisions. Amiable individuals prefer following orders to taking the lead.


Those with the analytical personality type are highly detailed and perceptive people. They are good at working alone and are often cautious and careful when making decisions.  This group of individuals like having access to all the information they need before making a decision and they like to minimise risk by considering all possible options.

How can you adapt your behaviour?

Now that you may be able to spot the different social styles within your team, how can you adapt your behaviour to get the best out of them? Take the scenario where you need to brief in a new project to someone in your team with the “driver” social style, how can you ensure the project will be successful?


  • Be prepared, on time and focus on solutions, not problems
  • Know your facts and have the detail to hand
  • Be prepared for pushback and challenge


  • Beat around the bush and use wishy washy, vague language
  • Focus on the detail – they will ask for more detail if they need it
  • Try too hard to assert control – drivers like to be in charge!

Interested in finding out more?

We will be covering the Merrill-Reid Social Styles Framework and practical tips and techniques to build better relationships with colleagues and clients in our New Managers’ Conference. A one-day virtual conference taking place on 23 June, our conference is for recently promoted or new managers to help them focus on the non-technical aspects of their role. Covering managing different personalities, managing teams remotely, developing your personal brand, handling pressure and much more.


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